By JEM (Degrees 4 Dogs Contributor)

Our dogs instinctively know when we are happy and when we are sad, and when we are somewhere in between.

Who do you want on your side during a break-up? Apart from friends and family….Your dog, of course.

Break ups can be difficult. Regardless of who is the break-up-er, and who is the break-up-ee, the parting of the ways can often bring on very personal emotions of grief that only dogs can understand. Dogs have special ways of helping us navigate through life’s experiences. When you are healed and ready to get back into the dating game again, these 4-legged beings will ‘paw’ over dating website possibilities with you…and probably help you with a short list!

This faithful crew below are not the judge’s choice or final five from an online survey. They are simply a few of our favourites nominated by those who have had these fur-friends on their side during relationship break-ups!!

1. Labrador/Retriever
Continually reassures you are loved by their deep desire to be in your presence. They are not fussy about food, or how it is plated up or the temperature. They are more than happy to share TV dinners, comfort food and snacks with you. During this time, they are not overly motivated to exercise and just content to laze around with you. “Whatever you want to do if OK by me” mission statement.

2. Terriers
Have the reputation of “therapy dog” for good reason. They are content to rest their head on your lap without commenting on your tummy rumbling. They lovingly lick away the tears over a soppy book or movie or memories, and they don’t cringe when you eat all the chocolate. The way they stare adoringly up at you without blinking melts your heart.

3. Bull-Dog
Reassures you are loved by giving you slobbery kisses without any expectations. They are happy to sprawl on the sofa with you in quite immodest positions. They love playing dress-ups and know full well your wrinkles are laughter lines, just like theirs. Added note: Politely leaves the room when experiencing gassiness (flatulence).

4. Poodle
Believes a manicure, pedicure followed by a facial and massage are fantastic therapy for both of you. They do not hog the doona, and help with chores like cleaning the floor without being asked. They think you both look cool in hair curlers. Lovingly nuzzles into your neck without leaving a hickey.

5. Irish Wolfhound
Reminds you their breed was originally used in war to drag men off horses and chariots, so if the ex comes around he will be dealt forthwith. If they could, they would trot down to the newsagent and buy all the trashy magazines for you as they know celebrity gossip is a good distraction. They let you play with their beard, and bring you the box of tissues when you are sad.

Our list isn’t exclusive. Here’s to all those beautiful little, big “heart healers” – we love you heaps.


Bow, wow! My very first diary! Where do I start?
I am a Maltese X Silky Terrier pup, presented to my new mum as a birthday surprise by her teenaged god-daughters. My mum is husband-less and child-less and in her forties.
I was named Chardie. Mum says “Chardie” means lots of things – candid, captivating, child-like and curious, often cheeky, always cuddly and sometimes challenging.

This is the story of life through my eyes, my thoughts and conversations.
Can I take you on a journey…without a lead? I don’t want to drag you, so please come with me willingly and with an open mind.

“Dear Diary” is Chardie’s story as told by Chardie, and lovingly typed by Mum.

Hello everyone

Dear Diary,

Mum is really fussing about this morning. It’s Saturday and it’s very early. What is going on?
I am still a puppy, trying to develop a routine and suddenly we are doing things differently. Not the normal weekday rush, and not the usual leisurely weekend snuggle in bed. I am being groomed to go somewhere, my hair brushed and Mum is now brushing hers…..but not with my brush. Mum grabs her bag and my lead. We are going somewhere together, that much I can tell.

In the car, Mum explains it to me. I am going to school. Puppy school, where I will meet and greet other puppies and learn some “bee-hiveral stings”, like to sit, stay, heel and come when called. Oh-bee-de-ants stuff. It kind of sounds fun, but I’m not too sure about the buzzing bees going to the same school. I’ve heard them in the garden and it’s a bit scary when they land on my nose. And I’m not too sure about the ants coming to my school either. That seems rather pointless for them because ants are deaf, aren’t they? I think they must be deaf because they all play follow the leader and never come when they are called.

We arrive at a park. Mum carries me to the place she wants me to be, mainly because I think we are a little bit late and not because I am lazy. I look up at Mum – there is a twinkle in her eyes and little tears dripping down to her smile. I reassure her by licking her salty tears away. It’s OK Mum. I really am excited about this school and I can’t wait to meet the other puppies. And I promise I will listen and learn too. Because you said that’s what you did at school. Make friends, be kind to others, listen to the teacher and learn new things.
I’m a bit shy, but I muster up my courage and do the right thing with introducing myself to the others.

Hello, my name is Chardie, what’s yours?
“Hi Chardie. That’s a nice name. My name is Moet, with a silent “T”. I am a pure poodle.”
Hello to you, Moe, silent T. I really like your perm, by the way. I am a Maltese not-cross Silky.
“That’s funny Chardie. I’ve never heard of a not-cross doggie. I’ve heard of pure breeds, because I’m one; and I’ve heard of cross breeds, I think that is you. And then there are the Heinzes, you know lots of different varieties.” Moet yelps at her own joke, which makes her very cute with her mouth all wide and a teethy smile back to her ears.

Another puppy sidles up to Moet and I giggling. She is very small, about half my size and she could easily fit into Mum’s handbag. Her name is Kara with a K, she says, and Moet and I can’t stop staring at her glittering collar that does dances in the sunlight. Kara explains that they are not real diamonds, just Saturday’s bling.
“Well, that makes sense” says Moet. “Silly to wear the really expensive jewellery to school. Best to save it for going out and special occasions, like birthdays and weddings.” Moet seems to know lots of things. I like her and Kara too.

While the girls are comparing collars, I look around to see other puppies much bigger than us. They must be boys. As our group grows, with the Mums and Dads chatting during their own introductions, a short Jack Russell creatively named Jack, a reddish brown Kelpie called Digger and a tall bearded Rufus with a really long name of German Wire-Haired Pointer all coyly join us. Rufus has to catch his breath after introducing himself, so Kara asks if we can make his surname shorter.

“Sure. Rufus GWP. Just don’t call me Roofie because I am not a tradie dog, and don’t call me late for dinner” he adds with a goofy chuckle.

Next to lumber into our little circle is Daphne and Wilson, best friend black Labradors.

“We do everything together” they chorus.

“Our Mum and Dad are vets and we met when they met” explains Wilson.

“We met when the vets met” chants Moet and we all chuckle.

“And we are part of the bridal party at their wedding” adds Daphne. “I’m going to have rose-buds around my neck and Wilson will wear a tuxedo and bow-tie.”

“That’s why we have to come to school. We have a lot to learn. This is our learning list. …Walk not run down the garden aisle; stop at the altar; sit still during the ceremony; bring the rings when called. And we have to learn fast cause the wedding is in two months.” Wilson rattles off their to-do list with pride.

We all oooh and ahhh and give our promises to Daphne and Wilson to not muck up in class so they can learn all their to-dos quickly.

I could listen to the stories all day as we share our lives in friendly banter. From across the other side of the park, a man is running, waving empty leads above his head and calling out “stop-stop-stop” very loudly. He is playing chasing games with two big doggies that are covered in black filled-in circles all over their body and face. They bound into our little cluster without puffing.

“Hi, I’m Spot and this is my sister Dot. We are Dalmations in case you’re wondering!” My mouth is open wide. I’m having trouble with my eyes, all those dots ‘n spots. I wonder if the circles grow bigger when Spot and Dot grow bigger. Do all the circles get so big they join together into one big circle?

So now I have figured out that girls can be big and small. And boys can be big and small too. And we have breed surnames. Mine is ‘Maltese not cross Silky’; Moet’s is Pure Poodle; Kara’s is Miniature; Daphne and Wilson’s surname is Labbie, and there is Master Jack Russell and Digger Kelpie, the Not-tradie Rufus with important letters after his name, and now I have just met the Dalmation siblings. This is so much fun. We all look so different – different shapes and sizes and colours, and after the sniffing ritual I realise something – We all kind of smell the same!

A lady blows her whistle, our social time halted as we begin our first lesson in obedience.